Best SMS Practices – Marketing Tips

During the holiday season, you probably want to raise your marketing to reach your clients trying to find the perfect gift. What’s more perfect than a beautiful family portrait from your studio?! However, your client’s inboxes are already full of marketing from other businesses that want to reach them as well. Check out these tips to help your SMS marketing stand out this holiday season:

Personalize it – You don’t want to sound like a robot when you text your clients. Personalize your automated texts by adding merge fields (e.g. “Hi [First Name]! We had a great time visiting with you at your session today! Let us know if you have any questions or comments to pass on! Thanks – The Studio”). On top of that, always sign your studio name with your texts so your clients know where you’re texting from.

Keep it simple – Many people probably remember the term KISSKeep It Simple, Silly! Text messages are meant to be looked at quickly. Your clients aren’t going to stop their busy schedule to read a book of information texted to them, especially from a marketer. Even a long link can be off-putting to a client. There are services out there that take a long URL and shorten it for this specific reason. Bitly is one of the leading services available for shortened URLS – See for yourself!

Keep it a secret – Shhh! Clients love getting exclusive offers! Offer special promotions they can only get by being part of your SMS marketing.

Reward them – Give your clients a reason to want to receive your texts. One way is by offering them a prize when they opt-in (e.g. “Give us your phone number for SMS marketing and receive $10 off your next purchase!”). Users with the Platinum SMS plan can go even further. Since your SMS number is dedicated to your studio only, you can have your clients text you first in order to opt-in (e.g. “Text “PHOTO” to 888-888-8888 and get $10 off your next purchase!”).

Keep it relevant – When sending texts, ask yourself “Can my client do anything with the information I’m sending them?” If you’re sending out a text blast telling people about the Christmas tree you put up at your studio, it might put a smile on their face, but there’s nothing they can do with that information. Pretty soon you’ll be lower on that client’s priority list for which texts to view. Using the Christmas tree example, you can get the client involved by texting something like “We’re getting in the holiday spirit with our new Christmas tree at The Studio! Stop by this week only for an exclusive Christmas Photo Session!”

It’s important to always have your client in mind when sending out marketing texts. One of the best ways to do this is to keep yourself in mind as well. Think of the marketing texts and emails you’ve received. Which messages grabbed your attention? Which ones did you know would go nowhere?

Click here for more information/pricing on the SMS add-on!


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Best SMS Practices – Keep away from Spam!

In the sea of marketing going on right now with the holiday season, it’s easy to want to send your clients every bit of information about your holiday promotions and all the changes going on within your business. However, by doing so, you may inadvertently be spamming your clients. Phone and email providers are constantly scanning for spam-like texts/emails. It’s important to make sure your own marketing doesn’t come across as Spam.

No one likes getting Spam, and you may not even realize you’re spamming clients. Follow these tips to keep your texts Spam-free:

Keep it different – To prevent phone providers from flagging your texts as Spam, keep each text message different by including merge fields (e.g. “Hi [First Name]! We had fun seeing you on [Session Date] …”). Two or more merge fields should be enough to show phone providers you’re sending personalized messages to your clients.

Spread it out – If you have a large number of texts to send, you might want to consider spacing out when the texts are sent. If you try sending hundreds of texts at once, it can bog down a phone provider and cause them to look at you as Spam. Perhaps try sending smaller groups of texts over a period of time (e.g. send 100 texts at 10 A.M., another 100 at 11 A.M, and so on). Another suggestion is not to use the exact same wording for your blast—for each sub-batch, change a word or two to keep each sub-batch different. Also, for your client’s sake, don’t text the same client every day either. They’ll get sick of the texts and so will their phone provider.

Avoid “spammy” phrases – Some texts just scream Spam. Have you ever received a text or email with phrases like “Save Big!” or “Act Now!”? Avoiding phrases like this will not only let phone providers know you’re not out to Spam people, but also your clients will see you with more credibility.

Let your customers opt-out – Your clients will have more peace of mind if they know your marketing isn’t a lifetime commitment. Our SMS service has it built-in that if a client responds “STOP”, we will no longer text that number. Including this information in your marketing texts can show your clients you’re not intending to Spam them.

Take responsibility – Always include your studio name with your texts so clients know where the SMS messages are coming from.

Keep it relevant – Give your clients information they can actually use. If you bombard them with useless information about your studio, they won’t care when you send them important information that is truly about them.

Keep it casual – You set the tone for your communications with clients. Talk to your them like they’re a friend. If your clients receive a cold “Hello” or “Dear”, then they’ll view your text in a cold manner. You don’t want clients to think you’re some marketing robot.

Get a Response – Interacting with your clients is key. If your clients are sending texts back to you, their phone provider won’t think you’re spamming them. Ask your clients questions or tell them to respond to get an exclusive offer. There are multiple ways to get your clients involved.

Utilizing all these tips is a great way to keep on top of your marketing content and show both your clients and their phone providers that you’re not trying to Spam them.


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Best SMS Practices – The TCPA

Just like with email marketing, there are laws you should be aware of when it comes to marketing to your clients over text messages. The bulk of these laws can be found in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Click here to view the full contents of the act.

According to the TCPA, you must have consent from your client before you can text them. Multiple ways exist to get this consent – even having the client check ‘Yes’ on the May We Text You? field for Online Booking (myStratus Only) can be considered consent. Consent can also come in the form of you having an “established business relationship with the recipient”. This means if you have been actively working with this client and they knowingly give you their mobile number, that can be considered consent as well.

So even if you do have an established business relationship with your client, it’s still a common courtesy to ask if it’s OK to include them in your SMS marketing when they give you their mobile number.

Another important part of the TCPA is that your clients must have the ability to opt-out of your marketing at any time. To accommodate this, we already have something built into our SMS feature. If your clients ever want to opt-out of receiving SMS messages, they can respond to your text with “STOP” and the system will automatically stop sending them texts. Whether you choose to include in your texts that clients can opt-out or not, this feature still exists.

The TCPA is an act for the United States, but other countries have their own SMS marketing laws as well. Many of the regulations described in this post are also in place for other countries, so it’s important to be aware of what laws affect you.

Click here for more information/pricing on the SMS add-on.

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SMS Text Messaging Ideas

In light of our upcoming Cyber Monday sale for new SMS signups, we are reposting this blog entry from January 2015. It’s a great way to learn ideas on how to use SMS Text Messages to better your business!

Are you using text messages to keep in touch with your clients? Well, your competitors probably are! Did you know that you can use either StudioPlus Spectra or myStratus to send SMS text messages to your clients and receive their replies?

Our clients love our SMS Texts! We use it for all appointment confirmations and reminders. And whenever we can’t reach a client on the phone, we send them an SMS Text instead. They love it!” – Staci Albritton, Albritton Photography

SMS Texts is the MOST effective way to communicate with seniors. They might not read their emails, but will always read their texts.” Lana Ervin, Ervin Photography

Here’s just a small sample of how you can use text messages to keep in touch with your clients…

Confirmations and Reminders

  • “Hi Sarah. Your photo shoot has been booked for 10:00 am, May 15th at The Studio! See you soon!”
  • “Hi Kate. Just one more day to your photo shoot on 12/7/2017 at 10:00 am at The Studio! See you soon.”

Thanks You’s

  • Hi Karla. Thanks for coming in for your photo shoot today. Your images look AMAZING! We’ll let you know when they’re ready for you to see.”

Order Followup

  • “Hi John. Your order is ready for pickup at The Studio. Your pics look great! Call us at 555-555-5555 to schedule a time to come in.”
  • “Hi Judy. We hope you love your new pictures! If you like us on Facebook, we’ll enter your name for a free 8X10.”


  • “Hi Tammy, it’s Tina at The Studio. We posted your images online so you can share them with your family and friends! Check your email for your login details.”

Ambassador Programs

  • “Hi Marissa! Just a reminder that we need your ambassador lists in by this Friday. You’ve almost earned your free Elite Session!”

Promotions or Special Offers

  • “Hi Kim! Congratulations! You won the drawing for a complimentary photo shoot at The Studio. Call me at 555-555-5555 to book it. Thanks, Todd.”
  • “Hi Jessica! Just checking to see if you would like to use the photo session voucher you received when you picked up your new car at the BMW dealership.”
  • “Hi Tom! We’re offering 50% off Christmas photo shoots this month at The Studio. If interested, give me a call at 555-555-5555. Thanks, Mary”


  • “Hi Nicole, it’s Amanda at The Studio. I’m thinking of doing some sessions at the old Marley Farm this spring. Would you be interested in something like that?”

In order to build successful relationships with your clients and prospects, you need to engage them where they spend the most time – on their smart phones. You can get started with just a few easy steps.

  1. Sign up for a StudioPlus SMS text messaging plan to use with either Spectra or Stratus. Text messaging plans can be adjusted when necessary and canceled at any time.
  2. If you’re using Stratus, that’s it! When you sign up for a messaging plan, we automatically enable your texting features in Stratus and you’re ready to go.
  3. For Spectra users, there are a couple more steps. You’ll need to:
    • Enter your account name and password in your Spectra Company Preferences.
    • Enable the SMS Text Inbox Processor job in the Spectra Control Center.
  4. Then, with either Spectra or Stratus, you can create SMS templates that can be used over and over!

Here are a few more resources you may find helpful:

+ Getting Started with SMS Text Messaging
+ Sending SMS Text Messages
+ Managing your SMS Plan

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New 2017 Training Videos

Everybody learns at their own pace and in their own style. So, for all our visual learners out there, the 2017 training videos have arrived just in time for our 2017 release! The new videos cover our brand-new Trigger set up process as well as some of our newest features, such as the StudioPlus Finale Render/Print Server, Online Booking for Organizations/Schools, Inventory Tracking, and Importing Holidays & Special Events. We’ve also included an update to our Web Forms training videos that covers creating Contact Us forms, and in addition, completed a cosmetic update to our Time Clock training video encompassing its latest features.

Look for the videos on our training videos page, each identified with the tag “New 2017”.

We anticipate you’ll learn how to utilize and maximize our new and updated features. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at!

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Confirm Your Sessions By SMS Text!

Calling to confirm a session or sales appointment dramatically increases the percentage of clients who actually show up. However, this is time-consuming and clients don’t enjoy being bothered with these types of calls.

What if you could easily confirm that your client is still planning to come with just a simple email or text message? What if you only need to call those clients who don’t confirm electronically via email or text? Think of the hours (and costs) you’d save! As a bonus, your clients appreciate not being “bugged” to simply acknowledge they plan to keep their appointment.

Using StudioPlus Mail and SMS texting working together gives you the advantage of sending your clients a link to confirm their sessions right on their phone! StudioPlus Mail allows you to send a confirmation link embedded in your emails. When your client clicks that link, it automatically confirms their session in your software. This reduces your confirmation list significantly, saving employee labor AND time. By combining this feature with SMS texting, harness both automatic confirmation and the speed of texting. People check texts instantly while not everyone checks incoming emails. Bang—you can enjoy the best of both worlds!

What’s amazing about this process is it’s simply “set it and forget it”. Once you’ve completed three steps, it’s totally automated. Let myStratus/Spectra do the heavy lifting for you!!

Interested? Okay, first, ensure you have both SMS Texting and StudioPlus Mail. Sign up using the links below:

StudioPlus Mail:
Click here to sign up for StudioPlus Mail

SMS Texting:
Click here to sign up for SMS Texting

Once you have both add-ons, follow these quick steps to set up your software to text confirmations.

Step 1 – Create the body of the SMS Text

Create a form letter as your text message. If you’ve never used the Form Letter Builder, check out this Help document for more information.

Make sure your Form Letter is set to the Session Filter type. Next, put your cursor at the spot in the body where you plan to insert the confirmation link. Go to the Insert > Data Field > Special Fields > Session Confirmation Link. This inserts the confirmation link into the body of the text. Here’s an example:

The Photo Studio

Hi [Client First Name], just a reminder of your photo session on [Session Date] [Session Time]. Please click the link to let us know that you’re still planning to come! [Session Confirmation Link]

Step 2 – Set up your confirmation settings

Go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company Preferences > Email tab (where you set up your StudioPlus Mail account). Scroll down to the Session Confirmation Emails section, which allows you to set up what will happen when your client clicks the link in the text.

Check the “Check Confirmed Checkbox” option to enable the confirmed checkbox on the session record to be checked when your client clicks the link. You may also set the session to a specific status after it’s confirmed–a great way to remove the session from your call list if you plan to call those clients who do not confirm electronically.

For example: advance the session to a session status like “Session Pending – Confirmed”. Then, just call your clients who have a normal “Session Pending” status. The confirmed clients will automatically be removed from your list. Finally, choose the landing page your client sees when they click the link in the text. You can use our default landing page, or you can create your own.


Step 3 – Set up the automated Trigger to send the SMS Text (Professional Version Only)

With the Professional version, you possess the option to set an automatic trigger to send your confirmation text to your client. If you’ve never used triggers, check out this Help document for more information.

We recommend setting up this trigger as a Session Status trigger, found at Maintenance > Session > Session Status Triggers. Usually, this trigger is based on a Session Pending status. Below we’ve included recommendations for settings. Feel free to tweak them to fit your business!


At this point, you’re ready to send the client text messages with confirmation links! Take advantage of this easy, automatic tool to reduce no shows, add yet another personal touch, and cut employee labor costs.

If you’d like to take this process even further, consider implementing the following ideas:
1) Create an HTML email that also contains a confirmation button.
2) Create another automated trigger to send the HTML email. Now, if you don’t have a mobile number for a client, they’ll also receive the option to confirm electronically.

Any questions, we’re here to help!

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Authorized Consultant is hosting a FREE training webinar!

We’re excited to report that one of our Authorized Independent StudioPlus Consultants, Stephanie Lesser, will be hosting an upcoming webinar!

This live webinar will cover the following topics:

  • Marketing Plans and Client Groups
  • How to use and manage Client Statuses effectively
  • Reporting
  • Birthday/Anniversary Triggers (NEW!)
  • Question Time
  • And more!

DATE: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern time (approximately 45 minutes)

SPACE IS LIMTED TO 25 ATTENDEES.  If you’d like to attend, please call (561) 809-1031 or email

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Free upgrades to Windows 10 until July 29!

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your systems to Windows 10, it’s time to get moving! Free upgrades from previous versions of Windows will end July 29th. After that it will cost $119 to upgrade to Windows 10 Home.

As a company that values innovation, we work hard to continually update our products, incorporating the latest advancements in software and technology. Why? It’s not that we’re just a bunch of geeks! We truly believe that providing you with the best solution for your business involves constant innovation. That’s why we encourage you to keep your software up-to-date, including your operating system. Windows 10 has proven to be a solid operating system with some great new tools, such as Cortana and Edge.

Here are a couple links you might find helpful:

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Authorized Consultant is hosting a seminar!

We are excited to announce that one of our Authorized Independent StudioPlus Consultants, Stephanie Lesser, will be hosting an upcoming training seminar!

Attend a 2-day training workshop and learn how to best utilize StudioPlus Spectra, myStratus, and InSpiredByYou for your studio – including all the latest 2016 features!

TRAINING DATES: Wednesday & Thursday, May 18th & 19th, 2016

TIME: 10 AM – 6 PM Pacific time

LOCATION: Henderson, NV (just outside of Las Vegas) If you’d like more info or to sign up, please contact Stephanie Lesser, Authorized Independent StudioPlus Software Consultant: (561) 809-1031 or

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New 2016 Training Videos

For all you visual learners out there, the 2016 version is here and so are its training videos! You can now learn how to setup Web Forms, track Groupon Promotions, and even print directly.  The videos can all be found on our training videos page with the tag “New 2016” next to them. We hope you learn a lot from them!

Training Videos Page: Click here to go to the training videos page

Feel free to contact us with questions at!

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